What Is 10x Content?
10x Content is content that is at least ten times better than the next best piece of content available online on that same topic. The main benefit of 10x Content is that is has a high probability of ranking well on Google for a given keyword. Also, 10x Content may receive more social shares and links compared to content that’s inferior to what’s already been published.
With that, a bit of background on this approach…
In 2013, I introduced the Skyscraper Technique on the Backlinko blog.
It’s a content marketing strategy for building links and ranking #1 for a given keyword.
The Skyscraper Technique works by finding an article that’s already earning links and ranking well in search engines, creating a better version of it, and reaching out to the people who linked to the older article to let them know about your improved version.
“10x Content” is a term coined by Moz founder Rand Fishkin. And it works in a similar way.
The main difference is that 10x Content doesn’t necessarily have to be a written article. Your 10x Content can be a YouTube Video, social media post, infographic, podcast… or any other type of content that you publish.
And, unlike The Skyscraper Technique, you don’t need to necessarily use email outreach for link building.
Why Does 10x Content Work So Well?
- The content marketing world is super crowded and competitive. In fact, according to TubeFilter, 500 hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. And that’s just YouTube. For almost any topic or SEO keyword you can think of, there’s probably lots content out there covering it. Chances are, a lot of that content is actually pretty good too.
- Any content that’s already ranking well in Google is likely to have some backlinks to it. And the site it’s hosted on might be authoritative as well. So making a piece of “great content” that’s just a little better isn’t going to be enough to overcome that content’s “first-mover advantage.”
- You need to create something much better — something 10 times better — in order to stand out and dethrone the existing top piece of content.
Find What’s Doing Well Already
The first step is to figure out what you want to rank for and see what’s already out there on that subject.
That way, you can confidently create a piece of content that’s truly 10x better than what’s come before.
In my experience, many people struggle with content marketing because they don’t get a feel for the current content landscape. And it usually leads to mediocre content that’s not super different than what’s come before it.
The bottom line? Unless you’ve already read the top-performing content on your topic, it’s going to be super hard to create something 10 times better.
With that, here’s how to figure out exactly which content you’ll need to beat.
- First, do keyword research to find keywords that you’d like to rank for. If SEO isn’t the main goal of your content, you can look at content with lots of social media shares on BuzzSumo.
- Plug those keywords into Google to see what’s already ranking on page 1.
- Jot down the strengths and weaknesses of the top-ranking content you see. What do they have in common? What are some people doing differently than others? Is there room for improvement? If not, try again with a different keyword.
For example, when I searched for “OMAD diet” in Google, I noticed that most of the posts were pretty thin.
I’d be willing to bet that a “Definitive Guide to OMAD” could easily beat out what’s ranking on the first page of Google for that keyword. And, if promoted, would probably also get quite a few shares on different social networks.
Make a Better Version
Now it’s time to make a better version. Since you’re shooting to make it 10 times better, you need to try to make content better in lots of different ways.
Pro Tip: the better you make your content, the harder it will be for another content marketer to come along and beat you. So don’t be afraid to publish something that’s 20x, 30x or even 50x better.
Here are a few ways that you can create content that’s 10x better than the competition:
- Make it more thorough. Do better research, interview experts, illustrate multiple angles on how to approach things, or include detailed steps and examples.
For example, I published this guide to voice search a few months ago.
This was far from the first post about voice search ever written. But most of the content that I read only covered a handful of tips and strategies.
But my guide? It was SUPER thorough. This single guide covered the growing voice search trend:
Reasons that voice search is growing:
And ways to optimize your content for voice searches.
Which is why several influencers in the SEO space shared it on social media.
- Make it more up-to-date. Sometimes, the top-ranking content will be so old that it’s not even relevant anymore (even if the entire piece isn’t outdated, you’ll often find that at least SOME of the content is out of date). So just by publishing something that’s relevant right now, you’ve one-upped the competition.
- Give it a better design. I’m not talking about design just for the sake of looking pretty (even though there’s a place for that). I mean design that makes your content easier to consume.
For example, my voice search guide contained 47 custom-made visuals that (hopefully) made the concepts easier to understand and apply.
Optimize for RankBrain
SEO isn’t the only reason to create 10x Content. But considering that ranking higher in Google is one of the main benefits of 10x Content, it makes sense to spend some time optimizing your content for SEO.
And when I say “optimize for SEO”, I’m not talking about adding your keyword to your title and description tags.
(Even though that stuff is important).
I’m talking about a Google algorithm called RankBrain. RankBrain puts a lot of emphasis on one thing: user experience.
Specifically, RankBrain measures how people interact with your site… and adjusts the SERPs accordingly.
Why is this important?
Well, you can create the most epic piece of 10x Content ever published. But if Google users don’t want to read it, the content isn’t going to last on the first page for very long.
Here’s how to make sure that your 10x Content maintains its first page rankings.
- Optimize for click-through rate. Here’s a funny thing about SEO. People spend so much time trying to rank #1 that they forget the entire point of higher rankings: to get more clicks. If you can increase your CTR without ranking #1, it’s just as good. (And if your CTR goes high enough, Google will nudge your site higher until you’re #1.)
- Increase your page’s Dwell Time.
- Match searcher intent to reduce bounce rate and pogo-sticking.
- You have to make sure that your content isn’t only incredibly good — it has to be incredibly good in the way people are expecting when they search for the keyword you want to rank for.
In other words, if someone searching for your target keyword wants a quick answer, don’t give them a 5,000-word blog post.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure what people searching for your keyword want to see, Google the keyword and look at what’s already ranking well.
That will tell you the type of content Google believes people are looking for.
Features of 10x Content
According to Rand Fishkin, there are 6 things every piece of 10x Content should be and do:
- Well designed.
- High quality, trustworthy, useful, interesting, and/or remarkable.
- Much different in scope or detail than the existing content it competes against.
- Create an emotional response.
- Useful: solves a problem or answers a question comprehensively.
- Your piece is 100% unique content (and remarkable in some way).
If you’re new to content marketing, I recommend printing out this list and making sure that everything you put out checks off all 6 boxes. Make it your north star for content creation. Have it define what “high quality content” means for your business.
In fact, I try to include every one of these 6 features in my blog content. And it’s a huge part of what has made Backlinko successful.
Examples of 10x Content
Here are a few pieces of content that I consider “10x Content”. Feel free to use for inspiration for your own content creation:
- “How Apple’s Apps Topped Rivals in the App Store It Controls“ article at The New York Times
- “The Story of Us” series of articles at Wait But Why (anything by Tim Urban qualifies as 10x Content).
- FiveThirtyEight’s statistical analysis of subjects ranging from politics to sports and beyond
- Nardwuar’s unique approach to interviewing famous rappers
- My own study of 12 million outreach emails
Skyscraper Technique Case Study: How one Backlinko reader grew his site’s traffic with ONE piece of epic content.
119 Examples of 10x Content: A curated list of insanely good content that qualifies as “10x Content”.
How to Create 10x Content: A Whiteboard Friday video that shows you how to to create 10x Content from scratch.